Sunday, November 27, 2011

Truth Is...

One point that this song alludes to is that before we were here, we were somewhere. It was during that time that a plan was brought forth to allow us to grow, and that all in all we would return wiser and stronger and with full confidence in the things that are true because we tested them for ourselves.

We can think of this time right now as the second act of a three part play. In the beginning of the play, the majority of the plot is laid. We find out who the main characters are, and we figure out what is going on. But what if as an audience member, you came in between the intermission of the first and second act? You would have NO clue what was going on, and things would be in motion that wouldn't make a whole lotta sense.

"So Are You A Knight Or The King?"

Now imagine if you were all of a sudden called on stage to be one of the actors themselves! How confusing would it be to try to play your role in all of this going on around you? Well, that's kinda how this life is right now. We come in partway through the play, with no knowledge of the first act, but expected to play a serious role for someone important... us!

We can figure out the important points from the people around us, but its really best if we go straight to the script. We can use the scriptures to help us out in the same way! As we learn more, we get a clearer picture on what is going on around us, and how WE personally want to act. A director, call him the Holy Ghost, can lead us in a way that is appropriate. Of course we don't have to listen to him if we don't want to, but... c'mon, this guy knows what he's talking about!

Spielberg, Anyone?

So we make it through this second act. The third act of this play will take place after we die. The second act featured the climax, the nail biting suspense and the roughest parts of the story. This third act is the place where all the loose ends are tied up and any misunderstandings are cleared up. Anything that was hidden from the audience (or the characters) is made known, and the resolution comes.

The truth is that our second act is very tiny compared to the other two. This moment in time, eighty or so years of life, is nothing compared to the rest of it. Yet how we live and act in this second portion determines most everything else that matters.

I know maybe we don't know exactly everything that is going on right now, but eventually everything is gonna work and be okay. We gotta take care of our part right here and right now, but if and when we do, we keep ourselves on track for the happy ending that will come in the third act. Take care of what you can right now, and leave the rest. It'll be aight.
The Three Act Play - The Plan of Salvation

Yepp. Finally found the link. Nevertheless, I already wrote all this down, so you get my version as well. But take a look at this link.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Purge

Its true! The more grateful you are, the happier you are!

With the season, I always think a little bit more about what I am thankful for. I think about those things I have, those things I once had, and the beautiful opportunities that have come my way or been given to me. The gift to take advantage of the luck handed over or whatever talent given, the undeniably undeserved family I personally have, and the blessing to be currently serving a mission... All of it rocks my socks off.

Sometimes we cannot see what we have because we only see what we do not. That changes the more we recognize what we have, and that allows us even greater room for more. A full life is not one where you have everything, but one where you fully appreciate what is yours.

Im still working on it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


After careful thought and consideration, this is my favorite Book of Mormon story EVER! It is the story of Lehi and Nephi, two missionaries going and preaching unto their brethren the Lamanites. The Lamanites were traditionally against the people where Lehi and Nephi came from, but nevertheless they went to go and serve and bring them to the gospel. I was going to add pictures, but when I did I realized that it really took away from the value of the personal imagery that can be so vivid. Hear this one out... its worth the read!
And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did proceed from thence to go to the land of Nephi. And it came to pass that they were taken by an army of the Lamanites and cast into prison ; yea, even in that same prison in which Ammon and his brethren were cast by the servants of Limhi. And after they had been cast into prison many days without food, behold, they went forth into the prison to take them that they might slay them.
And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned. And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pilliar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage. For they saw that the Lamanites durst not lay their hands upon them; neither durst they come near unto them, but stood as if they were struck dumb with amazement.

And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did stand forth and began to speak unto them, saying: fear not, for behold, it is God that has shown unto you this marvelous thing, in the which is shown unto you that ye cannot lay your hands on us to slay us. And behold, when they had said these words, the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison did shake as if they were about to tumble to the earth; but behold, they did not fall.
And behold, they that were in the prison were Lamanites and Nephites who were dissenters. And it came to pass that they were overshadowed with a cloud of darkness, and an awful solemn fear came upon them. And it came to pass that there came a voice as if it were above the cloud of darkness, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants whom I have sent unto you to declare good tidings.

And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul— And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse— And behold the voice came again, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; and seek no more to destroy my servants.
And it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled. And also again the third time the voice came, and did speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man; and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder. And it came to pass that the Lamanites could not flee because of the cloud of darkness which did overshadow them; yea, and also they were immovable because of the fear which did come upon them.
Now there was one among them who was a Nephite by birth, who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them. And it came to pass that he turned him about, and behold, he saw through the cloud of darkness the faces of Nephi and Lehi; and behold, they did shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels. And he beheld that they did lift their eyes to heaven; and they were in the attitude as if talking or lifting their voices to some being whom they beheld. And it came to pass that this man did cry unto the multitude, that they might turn and look. And behold, there was power given unto them that they did turn and look; and they did behold the faces of Nephi and Lehi.

And they said unto the man: Behold, what do all these things mean, and who is it with whom these men do converse? Now the man’s name was Aminadab. And Aminadab said unto them: They do converse with the angels of God. And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us? And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you. And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.

And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire. And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.
And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words. And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying: Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world. And now, when they heard this they cast up their eyes as if to behold from whence the voice came; and behold, they saw the heavens open; and angels came down out of heaven and ministered unto them.

And there were about three hundred souls who saw and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt. And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Some Days Im Out Of Time... Not This Time

What is real? How do you define real? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.
Im going out on a limb here, but I promise it will come back to the tree trunk eventually...

Perception, basically what we see and experience, in large part determines what we find to be "real". From that, we base our values and opinions and beliefs off of our reality. We all have different and unique viewpoints on many things that are common, and because of this we come to different conclusions with basically the same amount of evidence... different realities of a sort if you will.

So again... What is real?
If 100,000 People See Chriss Angel Float Off A Building And Perceive Him To Fly, Is It Still Real?

Maybe what we should really be concerned with is truth. The better question may be, "What is true?" in any given situation. A quick definition of true from the dictionary pulls up things like, "In accordance with fact", and, "Something brought into exact shape, alignment, or position required"... a chasm of difference from what is only "real".

 There is power in knowing truth... the true nature of God, the truths of the gospel, the true capability of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. An understanding of these and other truths can help us react appropriately to struggles in life and act accordingly to the true gospel... to what is true instead of what may just be "real". In John 8:31-32, the verse reads
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

I often bear my testimony. I tell people what I know. I don't know the truth of all things, but I know that God loves His children. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true... That it is, "in accordance with fact" that Jesus Christ Himself established over 2000 years ago, restored to the earth through a modern day prophet. I know that it is, "something brought into exact shape, alignment, or position required" to one day bring us into a fullness of joy with our Father in Heaven. I know the gospel is true, and that living its precepts brings happiness and fulfillment. I know this... and it is true.

Would you like to know if it was true or not too?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Make It So

Life is easy when you have a 50/50 split when it comes between choosing between two things; You only have a 50% shot of messing up and suffering the consequences! One of the great things about having guidance from a modern day prophet is that you get clear help in figuring out what is the right thing to choose, and you can trust the source because you know a prophet of God wont lead you astray.

Its kinda like the Indiana Jones theory...

"Elder Donohue, I Told You NEVER To Use Me In A Blog Again!!!"

If Indie knew what the consequences were (namely an immediate need to run a gauntlet of spikes and giant boulders), would he have tried to put the sand on the pedestal in an attempt to steal the treasure? Imma take a wild guess and say probably not...

Sin is kinda the same way. Many choices in our life could be this 50/50. It could be bad and bring sadness, or it could be good and bring happiness... But wouldnt'cha like to know which was which before you do it?
We can be warned of danger through a clear voice, keeping sin and righteousness a black and white distinction and eliminating the gray in lifes important things. A prophet can warn us of the consequences of sin and encourage us to choose the right. I know that through a modern day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, we have been given that exact same help that Indiana would have loved to have.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Wait A Second...

A south-African saying goes something like,
"If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance."
It reminds me (in a round about way) of a story of some carpenters from Norway who were asked to build part of the Manti temple in Utah. They had very little experience with construction of this type, and they were able to overcome everything without great trouble, that is until they came to the roof.

The roof needed to be sturdy, not too heavy, and most of all watertight. They had no experience with building a roof of this grandeur or capacity, but they did have experience as shipbuilders. They thought,
“Why don’t we just build a ship? Then, because a well-built ship is solid and secure, if we turn the plans upside down, we’ll have a secure roof.”

The previous experience they had with shipbuilding allowed them to construct one of the most beautiful and sacred buildings in the world. We too have many experiences in our life that we can then turn around and apply when a situation of similar circumstances arises. When we take what we have learned from the past, we can use the principles that are already a part of us just as the shipbuilders did.

We may not know how to dance and sing, but if we know how to walk and talk then we are not too far away.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Know and Feel

I was talking with an awesome guy the other day who has a very strong faith in Christ and who has spent much of his life in the word and in church. Quite honestly, he is one of the most spiritual men I have ever met. He highlighted a truth in a very succinct way that is sometimes better felt than heard:
Teaching is for the head, preaching is for the heart.

Learning the gospel gives us a knowledge that gives us freedom and power.

Being taught that knowledge is a valuable thing that adds to us... perhaps best likend to a spiritual well from which we can draw upon. Being preached the gospel does the same, though it feels more to draw something out of us... perhaps best likened to that spiritual well being drawn upon.

Truely, both experiences are a part of our learning the gospel.

EDIT: December 29th, 2011
Mr. Turner passed away over night at the age of 76. He was a good man, deeply spiritual and a steady rock to all around him. He was able to be what others around him needed him to be, because he was firmly anchored in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he himself was built upon a sure foundation. He will be missed, but he is where the Lord would have him be, when the Lord would have him be there.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Come, Follow Me"

I have decided that for the next month, I will do one post a day as far as I can possibly manage for this blog. They will not be super long (nor super deep I would imagine...), but whatever is on my mind is what you will get!

Like For Example, Killer Bunnies!
... Well that was random.


The first thought comes from a talk I heard from Dallin H. Oaks in the 2005 CES fireside entitled, "The Dedication of a Lifetime" in which a quote from Adlai E. Stevenson was liked unto the spiritual fortitude and steadfastness required of the truly converted. It was likened in that, "[Living the gospel] is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."

One personal example of the need for such endurance and steady dedication is found every single year with New Years resolutions. I would always go to try to play basketball at my local rec center back home, doing my regular thing that I do any other time of the year, when all of a sudden around January the place was packed and I couldn't properly enjoy myself! After a couple of years, I figured out that all I really had to do was wait until about March before things got quiet again...

Or At Least Until Their Personal Trainers Check Cleared

In this example, many people have the desire to get fit for awhile, but as time goes on they lose the willingness and desire to workout until they accomplish their goals. As a result, they do not enjoy the full blessings that come from the work they put in, nor do they fully achieve their aspirations... They do not have a steadfastness to their course to win the prize.

The same is found in the gospel. Many may find a zeal that carries them through a few trials or hardships with peace and happiness, but over time may fall off or lose that desire to continue the path of the Savior. Doing what they have found to be right becomes a chore with a subtle but sure change in attitude and action in the work required, though we are always invited to press forward.

We find King Benjamin exhorting the saints to entrench themselves firmly in the gospel and allow themselves to be constant in all things in Mosiah 5:15.
Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.
We can seal ourselves to Christ, and we must do continually and consistently through those things that bind ourselves to Him. The little things like reading your scriptures, praying, and going to church are things that make the world of difference of how closely we follow the Saviors path, but they are the difference between being steadfast and being tossed about on a sea of uncertainty.